By Michael Murphy, Transformations Alumni Coordinator

No, No. Not THAT N/A. Although it can definitely apply to most that subscribe to that “other” program we alcoholics know about. Copy cats (Calm down, I’m kidding!).

Non-Alcoholic. Which is actually quite misleading. Did you know the majority of N/A beers still do contain alcohol? Albeit usually only .05% ABV (Compared to a 4.5-10% and up), it’s still there! And this doesn’t go for just N/A beers.

Recently I found myself in a big wholesale liquor store. I know what you’re thinking. Who greenlit THAT idea?! I was running an errand for my old boss. Now, at this stage in the game, it doesn’t bother me to go into a store like that. I feel as though the temptation has been lifted from me (this will come into play, later). But, when I asked the sales associate where their N/A selection was, I was floored. They had N/A wines, beers, champagnes, and spirits! N/A whiskey? tequila? gin? Huh?! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This is when the gears started turning in my noggin. And I’ll explain those gears.

My first initial thought was, “Wow. This is really cool to see. That there are options for people that don’t drink, but want to fit in or feel included.” And being a former bartender, including craft cocktails, this got my curiosity. What would an N/A Old Fashioned taste like? Maybe an N/A Collins? An N/A Mojito?

Then I remembered reading a bumper sticker in the men’s room at a very well-known establishment that sells chicken wings and for whatever reason, has a thing for owls. It read “Often Imitated, Never Duplicated.” And this got the other gear going.

When a person attempts to duplicate something from their past, it’s usually for a reason. More often than not, it’s a fond memory. Or feeling. Nostalgia, perhaps. I guess you could say bc they MISS it.

As Alcoholics, we define our disease as an obsession. Alcohol runs our lives. Everything we do revolves around it. From sunrise to sunset, that is what is fueling us. And when we make the attempt to get sober, we are trying to rid ourselves of this obsession. So, this begs us to ask the question, “Should we be treading water on an old obsession that nearly took us out? Or should we attempt to ford that water, Oregon Trail style?” Remember, fording the river always seemed like the safe bet, but you were taking a big risk and you could still drown. And well, then it was game over.

Also, we have come this far, is it really worth the experimentation? Do we really feel the need to relive such a catastrophic time of our lives? The reason we are in this whole mess? And, aren’t we going against what we have been taught? If we feel the need to have a fake cocktail, or “Mocktail” as they are called, maybe we are in the wrong place and around the wrong people?

There are a lot of things in life I wish I could re-create. Or feelings I could relive again. My first home run as a kid, graduating from Parris Island as a United States Marine, meeting my ultimate Rockstar (Lemmy; there is no argument in this as he IS the rockstar.) But, I don’t think I want to get close to reliving the selfishness, the shame, the pain I inflicted on others, and the setbacks that drinking brought to me and those I love around me.  No need to imitate it, sure as hell don’t need to duplicate it.

I think I’ll just stick to my soda water. They’re easier on my belly, too. Hey, don’t judge. I live in Florida, it’s always swimsuit season here.

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